Do you have a grill like the one above? The­se are com­mon­ly called Hor­i­zon­tal or Off­set Smok­ers. The­se types of grills have some advan­tages over the ver­ti­cal smok­ers in that they can be used as a large stan­dard grill by just using the large cook­ing cham­ber to grill food over coals. So if you want a smok­er that will allow you to also grill burg­ers and brats for 20 an Off­set is the way to go. Ver­ti­cal smok­ers have an advan­tage in that they hold the temp much more con­stant and thus make them eas­ier to use when smok­ing for long peri­ods of time.

Would you like the best of both worlds? Would you like an off­set that will keep the temp more con­stant and even rival the con­sis­ten­cy of the ver­ti­cal smok­ers as well as have that large cook­ing area if need­ed? Would you like the temp on one side not be as much as 100 degrees dif­fer­ent than the temp on the oth­er side? Would you like the ther­mome­ter in the mid­dle of the grill be at least some­what accu­rate which is impos­si­ble when the thing is assem­bled out of the box due to the tem­per­a­ture fluc­tu­a­tions from left to right.

With less than $30 in mate­ri­als you can do all of that. Click below to see how I did it…


The first mod I did to my grill was for the rotis­serie attach­ment that is avail­able for the Char­griller Smok­er pro that I have and is in the pic­ture at the top of this post. While the web­site does not say that the rotis­serie real­ly isn’t designed for a grill with a fireside box, a cou­ple of quick mod­i­fi­ca­tions solved this prob­lem. One thing, you will need a Dremel or some oth­er device that will grind met­al. Dremels are not all that expen­sive and are extreme­ly handy around the house so go get one.

The main prob­lem with the rotis­serie and the fire­box is that the brack­et that holds the rotis­serie motor is sup­posed to go on the side with the fire­box. With the fire­box attach­ment there the brack­et must go over to the side with the shelf. But the shelf does not leave enough room for the brack­et. The shelf has three slats. Remov­ing the slat clos­est to the grill makes room for the brack­et. Makes the shelf a lit­tle small­er but you will sur­vive. Here is a shot of my two slat shelf and the brack­et in place:


The next prob­lem is that the brack­et props the lid up quite a bit. Doesn’t allow the lid to close all the way. The handy dandy Dremel made quick work of this prob­lem by grind­ing the brack­et down a bit to make room for the lid to sit down com­plete­ly. Make sure to wear eye gear and take all nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions when grind­ing met­al. Sparks will fly:


Here is the lid now sit­ting flush:


OK now on to the first mod­i­fi­ca­tion to get the temp sta­bi­lized and even­ly dis­trib­ute the smoke. The prob­lem with the fire­box design is all the heat is con­cen­trat­ed right next to the fire­box. Temp gauge on the grill might read 200, but it could be close to 250 next to the box and close to 150 on the oth­er side. That heat cooks the meat on the right much faster than that on the left. Con­stant jostling of meat loca­tion will help off­set that but that requires open­ing the lid numer­ous times and thus allows that great smoke to escape as well as the heat. Fre­quent­ly open­ing the lid on the cook cham­ber will make cause the meat to take much longer to cook.

Time to install a baf­fle between the fire­box and the main cham­ber. The baf­fle per­forms two tasks. First it shields the meat clos­est to the fire­box from the direct heat from the fire. Alu­minum is not a great con­duc­tor of heat and thus it acts as a heat sink between the fire and the meat. To do this I bought a dis­pos­able alu­minum high sid­ed pan that can be found at any gro­cery store. The sides are about 4 inch­es tall. I cut the pan essen­tial­ly in half at a 45 degree angle. The angle of the cut goes along the bot­tom of the grill. The sides of the pan cov­er the hole between the fire­box and the main cham­ber. This does not look pret­ty, but the inside of a BBQ rarely does if it has been used at all:


Here is a shot of the baf­fle from inside the fire­box. You can see the small gap along the bot­tom which forces the fire down to the bot­tom of the cham­ber which is the sec­ond task the baf­fle per­forms:


Why is it a good idea to push the smoke down along the bot­tom of the cham­ber? Sim­ple. With­out the baf­fle the smoke ris­es out of the fire­box, heads straight up and then trav­els the length of the cham­ber along the roof and exits the chim­ney. Every­thing right next to the fire­box cooks faster and gets more smoke but requires con­stant jostling of the meat to get every­thing done at the same time. Two dis­pos­able alu­minum cook­ie sheets, along with the baf­fle resolve this prob­lem.

Take the two sheets and poke holes in them with a sharp. pointy knife. Here is the under­side of one of my cook­ie sheets. As you can see the smok­er gets a lot of work since the cook­ie sheet has a smoke ring!?!?!


Place the two cook­ie sheets side­ways across the bot­tom of the
cham­ber side by side with the edge of one being over part of the baf­fle:


The smoke is forced down by the baf­fle and under the cook­ie sheets. The smoke escapes from under the cook­ie sheets even­ly through­out the cham­ber rather than just on the side with the fire­box and along the roof. This is a pic of my first smoke after I made this mod and I was blown away by the results:


The smoke/heat baf­fle made the temp much more con­sis­tent through­out the cham­ber as well as the smoke dis­tri­b­u­tion but it came with one down­side. While the built in ther­mome­ter is much more accu­rate now that I made this mod­i­fi­ca­tion, the temp is much low­er. I was forced to start using lump char­coal to get the temp in the cook­ing cham­ber hot enough to smoke ribs for say 6 hours. And I was going through a ton of char­coal.

The fire­box on this grill does not do a good job of keep­ing the main cham­ber hot. See the char­coal essen­tial­ly sits in it’s own ash and chokes the fire out the longer the ses­sion. I tried a cou­ple of things that did not work or were dan­ger­ous. Final­ly I bought this at Lowe’s:


How does one use a veg­gie grill bas­ket in an off­set smok­er to increase the temp in the main cham­ber? Well this mod requires some mods to the bas­ket before it will mod­i­fy the grill. See, even with­out the han­dle (which detach­es eas­i­ly) the bas­ket is too big for the fire­box:


On the right it is being held up by the met­al lip over the ash draw­er:


And on the left side the oth­er end of the bas­ket is being propped up inside the cook­ing cham­ber:



So out comes the Dremel again:


In a mat­ter of a cou­ple of min­utes, the wire met­al arc is no longer attached to the bas­ket:


And a few more min­utes lat­er the met­al wire arc on the oth­er side is gone too:


Now I have a met­al bas­ket but I need to ele­vate it off the bot­tom of the cham­ber to elim­i­nate the prob­lem with ash build up squelch­ing the heat of the fire. Four 1.25 inch screws, some hex nuts and some wash­ers solves that prob­lem:



Place the screws, wash­ers and nuts at the four cor­ners of the bas­ket near the bot­tom and now the grill bas­ket is sus­pend­ed over the ash draw­er:


Here is a shot of from where the ash draw­er would nor­mal­ly be show­ing how much space I now have between the bot­tom of the bas­ket and the fire­box. The coals will now be safe­ly ele­vat­ed above the ash:


If the ash does build up and gets close to the bot­tom of the bas­ket with this grill I can sim­ply slide out the ash draw­er, dump the ash­es, and rein­sert the ash draw­er.

Now one final mod. In order to keep the smoke from escap­ing out of the chim­ney too quick­ly I have extend­ed the bot­tom of the chim­ney down to close to the top of the grill grates/cooking sur­face. This way the smoke can­not sim­ply rise up and evac­u­ate the cham­ber. The smoke needs to come back down to find the exit through the chim­ney and con­se­quent­ly pass over the meat a sec­ond time. With this mod­el all I need­ed was a three inch diam­e­ter flex­i­ble alu­minum duct that cost all of about $8:


Since the bot­tom of the chim­ney is near­ly exact­ly 3 inch­es I broke out the Dremel yet again (See how handy this thing is) and cut a slit straight down at the top of the duct in order to get the duct around the chim­ney base:


Then I attached the end with the slit around the base of the chim­ney at the roof of my cook­ing cham­ber:

I stretched and bent the piece of duct around the raised shelf in the back of the cook­ing cham­ber on this mod­el and cut off the the rest of the duct leav­ing the bot­tom just about an inch above the top of the grill grates:


Here is the grill lid being propped open by the Dremel to get a shot of how close the chim­ney comes to the top of the grill grates when the lid closed:

Next up: Cov­er­ing the holes cre­at­ed for the rotis­er­rie with some sort of flange to seal them when not using the rotis­serie:

Also, I may look at going reverse flow and actu­al­ly mov­ing the chim­ney to the side clos­est to the fire­box and forc­ing the smoke to trav­el the length of the cham­ber along the bot­tom and then up and back across the meat. But that is an entire­ly dif­fer­ent ani­mal as it requires a cut­ting torch and some weld­ing skills two things I do not have. That is for anoth­er post if my $30 mods are not enough.

If you have any ques­tions feel free to com­ment below or email me at Scott@​GrillinFools.​com.

Also, you can fol­low the Grillin Fools on Face­book and post your own grillin pic­tures.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Orig­i­nal Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to col­lege with a suit­case and a grill where he over­cooked, under­cooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thou­sands of fail­ures, and quite a few suc­cess­es, near­ly two decades lat­er he start­ed a web­site to show step by step, pic­ture by pic­ture, fool­proof instruc­tions on how to make great things out of doors so that oth­ers don’t have to repeat the mis­takes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V#Grill­Porn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
My sec­ond slide show! Swipe to see my step by step process to make a gar­lic and cheese stu… https://t.co/Hz7BhCldMs https://t.co/3A6FGOlc4Z — 57 mins ago
Scott Thomas

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35 comments

Hi!
This is mac24312 from the LCF site.. ;] I am get­ting this smok­er grill in a cou­ple of weeks and I am going to do what you did with the bas­ket and the chim­ney. ;] I dont real­ly want the rotis­serie so what did you do to cov­er them holes up?

Thanks!
HUGS
Christi­na

Reply

You have to poke out the holes to put the rotis­serie in. So you will have no prob­lem. Good luck and keep us post­ed!?!

Reply

Oh I will..I can­not wait to get mine and do the mods on it… ;]

HUGS
Christi­na

Reply

i did some of the mods and they work very well

Reply

I also have the same grill/smoker and I love it, but the temps do vary great­ly from one side to the oth­er. I will be try­ing your baf­fle idea this week­end!

Reply

Hooli­gan,

The baf­fle is by far the eas­i­est of the mods. The char­coal bas­ket is the hard­est but real­ly does improve the design for long smokes. I would start off great for a 6 hour smoke and then 4 hours in I had to add char­coal left and right to keep the temp up as the ash accu­mu­lat­ed and just smoth­ered the fire. Lump char­coal helped but was still no match for the ash. The bas­ket works won­ders…

I had the same issue with the exce­sive ash a few weeks ago, (also using lump char­coal inci­den­taly) after about 4 hours the fire kept dieing, and it was windy out so it made things much worse. I end­ed up hav­ing to wrap the meat up in foil and fin­ish in the oven. It was dis­ap­point­ing.

Ill have to look into the bas­ket mod as well. Then again, any excuse to use the dremel is a good one for me.

Reply

The­se are great mods and I will incor­po­rate them into my smok­er. I got my smok­er for free and have added sev­er­al of my own mods. One of the­se is a small bat­tery pow­ered fan that hangs on the out­side of the fire box. This allows me to kick up the fire should the cook­ing cham­ber temp drop.

Reply

Looks like I’m head­ing to Lowe’s on Fri­day for the long week­end prepa­ra­tions. Great mods — thanks for shar­ing.

Reply

Awe­some Post! I went out this morn­ing and got most of the mods. I could­nt find a bas­ket though.

I’ll be shoot­ing a video on this and will include your site on my blog post.

Thanks for your help!!!!

Reply

Mike,

Look­ing for­ward to see­ing the vid…

.……Scott

what did you use plug the rotis­serie holes?

Reply

Rasheed,

I plug them by fold­ing over a sheet of alu­minum foil a few times and then wrap­ping the fold­ed up foul over the holes… It’s a lit­tle red­neck, but it works…

.……Scott

I have a ques­tion about the baf­fle at the fire­box end of the cook­ing area. On my smok­er, the open­ing is lev­el with the racks and I was won­der­ing if a piece of what­ev­er could be used even if it didn’t com­plete­ly con­tact the sides of the unit?

Reply

Doc,

I’m not exact­ly sure what you are say­ing. The baf­fle is designed to force the smoke down and under the meat, rather than allow it to flow up and over. The alu­minum is very pli­able and can be worked into all man­ner of shapes, I’d say get cre­ative and play around with it until you have the hole sealed off and the smoke is forced down…

.……Scott

Scott, to clar­i­fy, I was refer­ring to the baf­fle not mak­ing com­plete con­tact at the front and back sides of the cook­ing cham­ber. On the oth­er hand, if I’m fol­low­ing you regard­ing push­ing the smoke down, the alu­minum foil pan you spoke about could be used and wouldn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to have an “air tight” seal above or around the open­ing to the fire­box. It that a cor­rect pre­sump­tion?

Reply

Doc,

That is cor­rect. Some smoke can spill out, but as long as some is forced down and under the grill grates, you’re in good shape…

.……Scott

HELLO.…i WAS WONDERING HOW LONG OF A SUSTAINED BURN DID YOU GET WITH THE VEGGIE BASKET YOU MADE?

Reply

Kev­in,

I’m not exact­ly sure, all I know is that I had con­sis­tent temps for more than four hours, where as before I start­ed get­ting dimin­ish­ing temps in under two hours as the ash build up. And the best part is, yes, the ash builds up here too but I can scoop it out from under­neath quick­ly and eas­i­ly. There’s no way of doing that with­out the ele­vat­ed basked…

.……Scott

Scott — thank you for this blog/post…I just ordered this same grill and will be com­plet­ing the mods, when it arrives. I am a com­plete begin­ner in grilling, as this is my first grill. I want­ed to know if it is still pos­si­ble to use it as a grill for fast cook­ing with the­se mods. In oth­er words, can I smoke ribs and such one day, then still grill steaks and burg­ers as need­ed and with­out too much dif­fi­cul­ty. Also can you still use your fire­box for grilling and such on its own as well, even with the bas­ket mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

I also appre­ci­ate the link for that basket…I will be get­ting that as well and mak­ing the prop­er mod­i­fi­ca­tions. Thanks again

Reply

Alon­zo,

Yes, you can still do hot and fast with the mods. All you have to do is take out the cook­ie trays and put the char­coal in the main cham­ber and raise up the char­coal tray. I’ve had mine for almost 6 years now. There’s some rust as I’ve nev­er cov­ered it, but it’s still going strong and prob­a­bly has anoth­er 10 years left in it. 

Good luck…

.……Scott

Thanks for the great mods!
I’ve been try­ing to smoke dif­fer­ent things using the same grill with poor results.And reap­ing
( “what a waste of mon­ey” from the wife) Won’t share the smoked salmon, or trout deba­cles.

Your mods are going to make a huge dif­fer­ence!
A sug­ges­tion I’d like to make is add one or two alu­minum loaf pans with water, it will help to keep food moist. I’m also think­ing about lin­ing the inside with fire brick.

Thanks again!!!!!!!!!

Reply

I pur­chased the bas­ket from the Ama­zon link above, but there is one prob­lem. The bas­ket I received is black and I assume this is do to the non­stick coat­ing. I also assume when this coat­ing starts to burn it will give off a nasty smell and fla­vor. What should I do about this? Should I try burn­ing off the coat­ing with char­coal? Or strip it with paint thin­ner? Any sug­ges­tions would be much appre­ci­at­ed.

Reply

Nick,

I’m not sure. I hadn’t con­sid­ered that. Yeah, I prob­a­bly would do a cou­ple full on ragers in there with a huge pile of char­coal to cook it off. May­be go at it with some steel wool to break the integri­ty of the fin­ish and allow the heat do the rest. May­be hit with more steel wool after a cou­ple burn throughs to get the last of the fin­ish…

.……Scott

I would use expand­ed met­al for the bas­ket. Mea­sure out the door open­ing and the diam­e­ter new where you want the bas­ket to hold. This will last a lot longer. I just used hog ring ply­ers from trac­tor sup­ply and used that to hold it togeth­er.

Reply

How well has the veg­gie bas­ket worked? I’ve heard peo­ple say that their bas­ket melt­ed from the heat

Reply

Erich,

Mine worked fine for a cou­ple years before I stopped using the fire­box all togeth­er and start­ed using the the bar­rel only. Coals on one side, meat on the oth­er…

.……Scott

It appears you had to take the ash pan out so the baf­fle would fit. Con­sid­er­ing this, were you able to put a drip pan in the main cham­ber?

Reply

Jim,

Not sure the alu­minum pans along the bot­tom to dif­fuse the smoke would hold the weight of drip pan filled with water. If it were emp­ty and also made of alu­minum, you should be good…

.……Scott

After a suc­cess­ful first time smoke of ribs (or so I think) I read this and I’m going to try it since my first time even though I rotat­ed the meat every time I added coals the ends still burnt. I’ll try and post the results when I try it.
Could up load a pho­to but instead of pok­ing hole in a cook­ie sheet I used the veg­gie sheets with pre punched holes.

Reply

*Could not*

Eddie,

Nice tip on the veg­gie trays. Try mov­ing the ribs a lit­tle far­ther away. The cook will take longer, but less burn­ing…

.……Scott

Scott,
If you stopped using the fire­box, and are using the bar­rel only, no need for the bas­ket and tray baf­fels, right?
Also, did you use any­thing to hold the top of the duct to the bot­tom of the chim­ney base?

Reply

Jer­ry,

Cor­rect. I just took all that out. And I used a dry­er hose clamp to con­nect the host to the chim­ney base…

.……Scott

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